Thursday, May 7, 2009

Simple Way of Teaching Vocabulary

By Azys Syaiful Anwar
Communication is an interaction to exchange ideas or messages. When people want to communicate to others, they need some tools used to express their mind. One of the communication tools is languages. In this era, English is mostly spoken as a unitary language of the world. Considering its role, English is listed as one of main subjects in the national education curriculum in Indonesia. Students start to learn English from elementary to senior high school. During studying English, they will obtain four skills of English. They are writing, speaking, listening and reading. To help students master these skills, students are required to master the English vocabulary. Vocabulary is a list of difficult or foreign words with an explanation of their meanings. Therefore, teachers have big duty to teach vocabulary to their students.

Recently, teaching and learning process does not happen in a conventional or traditional ways. There are many teaching methods which are developed to be better from the previous methods. Teacher not only gives the material but also stimulate the students’ enthusiasm in teaching and learning process. Therefore, teacher must choose the best method to teach their students. In teaching vocabulary, teacher must be creative to arrange the teaching plan. Teacher may create some activities in class or use some teaching tools, such as games and pictures. In this way, students will be interested to learn the material.

Game is one of teaching tools which can be used to teach vocabulary. Teaching using games is giving students the material through some games activities. The games used in language teaching include some fun activities which can help students understanding the material taught by teacher. The activities in a game must be adjusted to the objectives of teaching. In teaching vocabulary, teacher may create some games which can improve the students’ ability in vocabulary. Teacher can use games as an alternative way to reduce the students’ boredom. Therefore, students will encourage learning in the class.

Teacher may choose communicative language games which have six characteristic, there are: students should interact with other students,

   1. The student should know the rule of the games,
   2. The games have clear purposes,
   3. The context of the activity should be clear,
   4. The students should cooperate with other students.
   5. The student should involve in the games actively,
   6. The student gets special rules in the game. (Suyanto, 2007:118)

The other tools which can be used to teach vocabulary are pictures. Teaching using pictures is conveying some material using pictures. Pictures can help students obtaining vocabulary. Teacher can use pictures as a visual aid to teach vocabulary. Using pictures, students may easily understand the meaning of a word. Therefore, teacher can improve the ability of students in vocabulary. In the other word, teaching using picture also encourage students to master more vocabulary because pictures can be easily identified rather than a word in a sentence.

Teacher should be creative to teach using games and pictures. Teacher is demanded to be active to stimulate students in learning. As the result, Students actively attend the teaching and learning process which employs either games or pictures. The theme of games and pictures which will be used to teach is adjusted to the lesson plan, the number of students (especially for games), and the students’ ability. In teaching vocabulary, teacher can create some games, for example: using puzzle game. Besides, teacher also uses picture to teach vocabulary, for example, flashcard about fruits to teach the list of vocabulary about fruits, printed material or their own sketch.


Suyanto, Kasihani K.E. 2007. English for Young Learner. Jakarta: Bumi Aksara


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